The Afero module.
Image courtesy of Afero.

Secure all the things

By Stacey Higginbotham
December 16, 2015

Joe Britt, the co-founder of smartphone company Danger, is back with a new startup to help manage the billions of devices expected to connect to the Internet of things.

Wednesday he debuted Afero, a company that turns the idea of a device-centric operating system on its head for the new world he envisions. His idea: Create a hardware and software that makes it easier to manage Internet connected devices as varied lightbulbs and cars.

Britt’s concern is that when connected devices are everywhere, the technology platform to operate them needs to be everywhere as well. That platform has to be flexible enough to let developers write code that can handle simple commands to lock a door from a smartphone or complicated one that controls a car’s telematics.

Customers might include an appliance company that wants to connect its coffee machine online. Or a shipping company that wants to track high-value shipments as they cross the country.

On the hardware side Afero offers a module that contains two chips. One has a Bluetooth radio that lets the device communicate with other devices such as a hub or a smartphone. The other chip provides a home for encryption generating hardware and storage. If a customer is using the Afero platform, the chip goes into any devices they make and want to securely connect to their own Intranet of things.

In addition to the flexibility, Afero offers security thanks to encryption generated at the device level which extends all the way to the cloud.

Afero is already working with partners such as Bandai, which makes toys and video games, and Infocom a healthcare IT systems and management company. It also has deals already with components maker Murata Manufacturing Co., which produces the module designed to go inside devices, and Qualcomm, which is providing the Internet connectivity for the Afero wireless applications.

Britt, who sold Danger to Google and then worked on its Android operating system, declined to say how much money Afero has raised or who its investors are.

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